More awareness and education about bullying contributed to higher percentages of Havre High School students saying that it is somewhat of a problem at the school. That was what Kyle Fisher, who administered a 2010 bullying survey and compiled the results against the same survey from 2005, told Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees members Tuesday. The percentage of students feeling that bullying is somewhat of a problem jumped from 65 percent in 2005 to 68 percent this spring. "These numbers bothered me," high school Principal Jerry Vandersloot said, especially the number that view it as a problem. Teachers are good about controlling and addressing bullying when it occurs, he said, and if bullying is reported, a cease and desist order is given immediately with a clear understanding that retaliation is not allowed. Follow-up is the issue, he said, because often, if bullying continues, students feel like they tried to make it stop, and it didn't work, and don't report the future incidents. "If you don't (report incidents), it's tough for us to be able to deal with these things," he said. Often, issues begin out of school and then are brought up again in school. Also, many issues start as verbal disputes or teasing and escalate, he said. Community members can help by not allowing that type of behavior, he said. "So that it doesn't become a habit," he added. "We're trying to teach appropriateness," said Jamie Courville, Havre Middle School assistant principal. When confronted about inappropriAte behaviors, students tend to show remorse, he said. At the K-5 level, students are also learning how to properly relate to other people. "We always teach kids that we need to be respectful," said Karla Geda, principal at Lincoln McKinley Primary School. "It's not a matter of boys will be boys," Interim Superintendent Andy Carlson said. "It affects for life," he added, saying that the schools are looking at the survey to be proactive. "If you look away ... and don't do anything to address it, you're wrong," he said.
More Havre students see bullying as a problem
Published: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
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